Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Facebook causes relationship problems

I'm sure that the vast majority of Facebook users have a good experience. But there's definitely a dark side! There have been a lot of horror stories in the media lately. Numerous people have been stalked and harassed through the site. And there have even been several murders that had some kind of Facebook link.

These cases are extreme, of course. But I'm sure there's a lot of much milder conflict that goes on as a result of people joining the site that doesn't get reported. I think it's got something to with the fact that Facebook is like another world that has its own culture, rules, regulations and etiquette. Some people get right into it and feel very comfortable. Others don't, and that's where the problem starts.

For instance, say one partner in a couple loves Facebook and starts telling his Facebook friends about what's going on in the relationship. He doesn't see there's anything wrong with this, since he's just doing online what he does offline in conversation. (And his partner has joined also, so he assumes that she doesn't have a problem with it - even if she logs in only occasionally.)

But of course on Facebook this gossip is not mere spoken words that are not recorded. It's all there in black and white. And it gets shared all over the place! Even if what's being said is benign, even positive, that's an invasion of privacy. It's pretty obvious why that could enrage someone.

So ultimately it's all about privacy. I think that's the fundamental problem with it. And here's a much more specific look at how and why Facebook can harm people's romantic relationships. While the problems included in the post relate to dating, it's easy to see how variations of them could affect platonic friendships as well.

Because of these pitfalls, I'm going to be careful when I get back into Facebook. I won't use it much for personal interaction with people. Rather, I'll use it in a more professional way as a means to promote my expertise.

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